WL11 for sound design

Very impressed with the addition of lanes. WL10 was billed as a tool for sound designers, but my sound designer and I found that only minimally true for final sfx mastering, for actual design of a sound fx we have to use Nuendo, which is clumsy for the purpose (the Mixdown dialog takes a fair bit of wrangling).

Step 1: Trying to create a sound fx in WL11. I’m grabbing various clips and stacking them up in lanes on a track. Looks very clean and intuitive.

First question - why only 8 lanes/track? That might be just enough, I have to ask my engineer but he might use more than that on occasion. I suppose he could use another track for more stacks which then get summed together. The inserts will be duplicated or whatever however.

Step 2: I created some junk example sfx, OK now I need variations. In Nuendo most of the time we just use the Randomizer vst for this, but I’m not finding it in the list. In Nuendo it’s in the “Other” category.

Hm, going to the plugin in preferences it’s not blocked. I’m not sure where Nuendo puts it, but noticing that both Nuendo and Wavlab have a “XYZ Plug-in Set. vst3” which seems to contain other plugins (?), I include

C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Nuendo 11\VST3\Nuendo Plug-in Set.vst3\Contents\x86_64-win

But still not found. Can the Nuendo plugins be used with Wavelab?

A limit has to be set, and I thought 8 would be enough. It would be easy to change this, but I prefer to wait for concrete cases.

It’s not part of WaveLab and WaveLab can’t use the plugins from Nuendo.
Since I am a Nuendo agnostic, please explain to me what this plugin does.

Understood, I’m also a software engineer. For game sound fx we layer lots of different clips, say a Sci Fi weapon fire. Break it into four parts like an ADSR, initial attack, sustain, release and a decay. Each of those will be made up different clips, say 3-4 clips/part, giving 12 parts. Now you can reuse lanes, say reuse the attack lanes for the decay portion too, but for short clips like a shot that would probably be problematic. Basically 8 is probably just usable, 16 at least would be better, 32 would be more than enough.

Darn. OK for game fx we need to take a base clip and create variations of it, as the human ear is so sensitive that if we reused clips for say a rapid fire of a gun it would be immediately recognizable and sound fake. Simple way used most of the time is to do pitch, time and other distortions to slightly alter the sound. Not large amounts, but jitters which make the sound slightly different. This is so important that further in the game engine (Unreal 4/5) we provide further runtime variations by doing the same effects (vary in time/frequency/eq and such)

In Nuendo, I believe my sound guy creates a stack on one track(s), then renders it out and duplicates 8 times on another. The Randomizer is applied to this track, which then does the variations on each of them (I can check with him later if this is the exact workflow he uses, but it’s similar). This is a bit clumsy, and then we use the even clumsier markers to mark out those different clips, and finally the Mixdown dialog to render out the variations. In theory it should work great, but you have to be very careful to do it in the right order or the Mixdown part can get upset.

Anyhow, that’s the basic idea. Ideally this would just be a plugin which is at the render stage. So you create your sound, then render out to disk, and as part of that it creates say 8 variations (different outputs with specific file names) for you (and you specify the degree to which it’s randomized).

Another way would be to do the same duplication of the clip, then apply a randomize to each one. WL is better at this than Nuendo, but if you change your mind and alter the original, you need to re-duplicate. But then render them out would be the final step.

Anyhow, yeah WL 11 is tantalizingly close to be a premier tool for sound design with all the latest features, but it has to be easy to make variations.

Here’s the Randomizer interface, basically you can change frequency (pitch), timing (time), impact (some kind of compression I assume), and color (probably eq)


I also would have expected WL11 to have more Sound Design Finalization features.
There’s always a big disconnect between Steinberg applications (… and I’m a huge fan, I own everything they make).
If you make sound design for video games in Nuendo and export several sound files to WL in order to finalize them, you have to re-import these assets to Nuendo to send them to the Game Connect, I wish there was a way to do that in WL.
Also, a proper asset management feature would be great to deal with hundred of assets, finalize them, tag them and organize them, make WL your final application for deliverables.
it’s unfortunate that, with all the Steinberg products I have, I still have to use Reaper to do that.
It seems WL is more focused on music mastering, and that’s fine, it does it beautifully but sound design for media requires different sets of tools.


Note that you could use eg. 4 tracks with 8 lanes. And have the 4 tracks routed to a track group.

Maybe it can be added in a future WaveLab version. I can’t tell now.

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Nuendo does have ‘edit in Wavelab’ but it only works on a single clip. It does ‘render in place’, so you can get a clip with some WL edits, and it comes right back into Nuendo, but you can’t do it to multiple.

I suppose, game pipelines are obviously a huge deal as they flow across different people/teams. We use a strict naming system with the filesystem and Perforce for that, with an external tool to keep track of all the assets. I’m not sure how WL or Nuendo could take part in that, especially since it reaches into art assets such as skeletal or static meshes.

As far as I can tell WL has gotten ahead of Nuendo for sound design. Nuendo is a big multi purpose tool, and frankly while it works fine for fx as I said is clumsy. WL should be the better tool as it’s firmly audio data oriented, where Nuendo is a composing, MIDI, mixing etc tool.

Well we’ll continue to investigate, maybe there’s a way to do this.

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Fair enough. Perhaps you could talk to the Nuendo team and get the code for the VST to incorporate in WL as a simple, easy value added. Great thing about Steinberg is you folks seem to be good at this. For example the Dorico team have incorporated the Cubase/Nuendo audio engine into Dorico, and on the iPad they integrated the Cubasis audio engine.

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Just checking in - we’d really like to switch to WaveLab for all sound design work. Nuendo 12 doesn’t make sound design any easier (it’s kind of tough in that tool). But we’re just missing a few plugins, any thoughts now on if they (e.g. Randomizer) could be brought in for WL12?

I can’t tell yet, but I will plead for this cause.

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